I would have to be in a coma to miss the message the Lord has relayed to me over and over again this summer. I mean His truth is palpable that hits between the eyes and into the heart. His Word is indeed “living and active.”
It began in a daily Bible reading some months ago, and the Spirit led me to Ephesians 6 reminding me that this battle being waged is not a flesh and blood, physical, what we see with the eyes sort of thing, but a spiritual, invisible, from the background to the forefront in this present darkness matter of reality. Then I went to the SBC annual meeting and the Ephesians 6 text was preached from, referenced to, and spoken of numerous times. I am going through Priscilla Shirer’s “The Armor of God” Bible study this summer, slowing down through the passage, ruminating on each verse week by week. And my girls will work on memorizing Ephesians 6 this year as our Bible memory work for Classical Conversations. So to miss God’s message would be to ignore Him entirely.
I see the news- the civil unrest, bigotry, injustice, and deep, societal pains, and the darkness runs thick. We cry for peace, for all of this to stop. We beg for Jesus to rend the heavens and come down, to bring unity and salvation. We know that He is our only hope in this mess.
Our children are constantly bombarded with images, messages, and sounds of rage, frivolity, debauchery, and the god of self while we try to shield them from the enemy’s grappling. I think of Jesus when he said to the disciples, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” We cannot simply ignore the spiritual forces of evil. We must dismantle them on our knees.
Distractions abound, and if the enemy can cause us to live under the false delusion that there are no lost people, no hell, and no need to care either way beyond our 9-5 lives then he wins the battle over our short earthly existence.
Be strong in the Lord, then.
This is where we begin and end. Standing firm in the muck and mire, fully armed, ready to battle the enemy with the Word of God, the righteousness of Christ, the gospel of peace, with faith, our salvation, praying at all times in the Spirit.
I think of my son who is not even two yet, and is always ready to fight. Everything is a sword. Even my daughters’ Barbie dolls are weapons that he uses to wage battle against his invisible enemies. He is ready with sound effects and everything.
In a similar way, I want to be ready at all times to resist the enemy and to stand firm in my faith in the strength of the Lord’s might. This is not a violent, aggravated thing, this is an acknowledgement that everything is not right with the world and only the gospel will make things right again. We can protest till the cows come home, but we will get nowhere until we put on the whole armor of God. This means that we pray. This means that we immerse ourselves in God’s Word until it pours out of our mouths and lives. This means that we repent and forgive. This means that we work out our salvation with fear and trembling through the righteousness of Christ. This means that we believe everything God says about who He is. This means that we don’t look to the world’s powers to resolve only what God can. This means that what we experience from day to day- relational conflicts, work struggles, inner anxiety, temptations to sin, and all that lurks in the darkness of our lives is more than meets the eye. There is an enemy at work seeking to impair our effectiveness for the Kingdom. But we are not unaware of his schemes. There is a God who is greater. There is a God who saves us and is continually saving us. There is a God who is at work in us, empowering us to resist the enemy, to stand firm in our faith, and battle the spiritual forces of evil, not with wit, human wisdom, or skill, but with the full armor of God that is available to us if we will just put it on.